May 30, 2012

Acobot – The Free Live Chat Robot

The Importance of an FAQ Page

One of the more interesting tips Tim Ferris mentions in his four hour workweek book automation chapter, is the power of frequently asked questions for a product or a service and its importance in minimizing customer support phone calls and email replies, which in return will lower the time and money spent answering repetitive questions.

Interactive Frequently Asked Questions – iFAQ?

By creating a live chat robot that answers customer’s questions instantly, the company Acobot has introduced an innovative spin to the traditional FAQ page. When you first install the plug-in on your blog, the bot is at its core useful only in capturing your visitors questions as it is not that familiar with your site. It does try to direct the customer somewhat but the true power of the tool is in the data collection, or better yet, the FAQ collection.

Chat Live vs. Chat Bot

At any time you or your team can then access your Acobot account and provide “better” answers to your visitors questions so that future visitors will be better assisted. This might seem like tedious work but it is no more work than collecting similar emails and phone logs and compiling an FAQ page that may or may not be read by your customers. Today most eCommerce sites should include some type of instant support, and if a live chat person is not affordable then a well trained robot is the next best thing.

How does an A.I. Chat work?

If you have a regular site then you need to copy and paste the script they provide, but if you use a popular CMS like WordPress or Drupal then all you need is the Acobot plugin. First, to install the plug-in, just go to add new plugin in your WordPress page and search for Acobot. Install and activate the plugin. Afterwards head to Acobot’s website and create a free account (good for 30 free chats a month with Acobot branding). After you create your account click the install link on top and get your WordPress installation key. Copy and paste key into your plug-in’as settings page and you are done. Check your site and you should see a gray chat box at the bottom right corner.

To Ask or Not to Ask that is the Question

The first question I asked the chat bot was “What is ZSZN?” and I got the answer I expected “Sorry, I don’t have a definition for that. Try to ask something else.” (Ok maybe not exactly what I expected but I know the little bot didn’t know).

Frontend Acobot Chat Log

I then headed to the Acobot backend account page and clicked the pencil shaped edit button and entered the correct answer that I want to bot to reply with. There is even an option to enter a URL to redirect the user to automatically (Note: be careful with this option as you might want to just display the URL and not automatically redirect the user). And that’s it, it automatically saved the changes and I went back to my site and typed the same question again. As expected I got the right answer: Zero Stupidity Zero Nonsense.

Backend Acobot Chat Log

What is the Cost?

Like most of today’s tech startups, there is a Freemium plan, so if you have a small site or you just want to play around with the tool, you can create a free account that will limit you to 30 chats a month with the Acobot logo at the bottom. The second option is $29/mo which limits you to 200 chats a month and $49/mo which limits you to 400 chats a month.

Have fun training your robot!

Is a chat bot an overkill? Can you find other uses for it? Share you thoughts below and let us know what you think.


  • Thanks for exposure. I like your review!

    An important, but often ignored, benefit of chat bot is the site owners can know their customers better than ever before through the chat logs. This is even better than customer surveys, which ask questions that the owners instead of customer concern. When interacting with a chat bot, the story is totally different – customers just ask what they’re really interested in.

    Once one know his/her customers well, s/he can easily improve the website and business to achieve better performance.

    • You are welcome, I think you guys have a great product. One thing I thought would be interesting, down the road, is to have a hybrid live/bot system that once the bot can’t answer the question it would put the user “on hold” and transfer to a live person. You can partner with an existing company and share API’s, at an add cost of course.

      • Yes, a human/machine hibrid deployment would be helpful for certain applications. We’re sure to taking your points into account when we roll out the integration with live chat software. Thank you for the input!

  • Besides to core customer assistance, is there any feature in such software solutions or scripts to provide a convenient place for staff operators to chat with each other? It would be a great way to help train new representatives or ask questions of co-workers.

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